RWTH Aachen University: RWTH Aachen awards the 2020 Brigitte Gilles Prize

RWTH Aachen awarded the Brigitte Gilles Prize 2020, endowed with up to 2,500 euros, in a total of four categories. It honors projects, initiatives and a thesis that improve the conditions for study, teaching and research for women at the university. In this way, they help to increase the number of female scientists and students in courses with a low proportion of women.

People on the stairs of the RWTH main buildingAndreas SchmitterProfessor Doris Klee (back center), Vice-Rector for Human Resources and Young Academics at RWTH, presented the Brigitte Gilles Prize 2020.
The external category honors projects that promote the interest of school girls in mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology – MINT for short. This year the award went to the initiative “The interactive acoustic world for children of all ages”. Concepts were developed that enable girls between the ages of three and twelve to playfully and interactively explore and learn to hear and acoustics. The coordination and supervision is carried out by Karin Loh from the teaching and research area for medical acoustics and is headed by Professor Janina Fels.

The networking platform “female Network Melaten” received the award in the internal category. The initiative aims to facilitate active exchange and networking for working women on the Melaten campus. Structural exclusion and personal concerns are common reasons for ineffective networking among women. Events to get to know each other are organized via the platform, which give impulses and serve to find common interests. Katharina Müller from the Department of Production Systematics is responsible for the project.

The project “Hlumani – giving the future a fair chance” received a special award. It was created through an international university cooperation between the Chair for Landscape Architecture at RWTH, the University of Stuttgart and the University of Cape Town. It supports the development of a community center for women farmers. The Community Center is a meeting point, packing station and sales area for the harvested fruit and vegetables. It combines the advancement of women, internationality, sustainability and diversity and thus increases RWTH’s international visibility.

The Brigitte Gilles Prize 2020 in the thesis category went to Dr. Anna Stertz from the Chair and Institute of Psychology for her dissertation entitled “From an individual to a dyadic perspective on work and family: Parents’ decisions and experiences after childbirth”. She examined work and family-related decisions and the experiences of parents after the birth of their child from an individual and dyadic perspective. With the transition to parenthood, paid and family work is mostly divided according to a traditional pattern: mothers spend more time on childcare and housework, fathers on paid work. Parental leave is therefore not divided equally, although this is often what both sides want. The dissertation was written by Professor Bettina Wiese, Holder of the chair and institute for psychology, and private lecturer Dr. Viktoria Arling from the Health Psychology Teaching and Research Department. She received the title “summa cum laude”.